First we stopped at McConnell's Mill State Park. Pittsburgh got about four inches of snow Friday night--our biggest snowfall of winter so far--and this area up north got about eight inches. I nearly had a heart attack from the terror of driving down the winding, narrow, slushy/slippery road to get to the mill in my nine-year-old VW Golf, but we made it safely.
It was a winter wonderland! Everything looked so pretty with all the snow. We stopped at the old mill and the covered bridge first.
Then we went on a little hike through a forested trail along the river.
Volant, a tiny town north of New Castle with a few cute shops. We stopped at Volant Mills, a restored old mill, and got hand-made pickles and candy and visited with Mabel, a friendly black-and-white kitty who lives there.
Then we headed to Slippery Rock for dinner at North Country Brewing Company. They had a number of veggie selections, including Hummus Pita, Falafel Pita, Black Bean Burger, Portobello Reuben, and Breaded Zucchini Sub. We got the Pub Pretzels as an appetizer, served with a spicy mustard. The pretzels were deep-fried and crispy--definitely not light and healthy--but absolutely delicious. I got the Artichoke Sub with marinated, grilled artichokes, tomatoes, and red onions (I ordered it without cheese). It was also delicious! I never drink beer, but in the spirit of being at the brewery, I got a Raspberry Beret beer. Yum! It was fruity without being overly fruity, light, and refreshing.
I also liked the brew pub's environmentally friendly focus. The owners have their own farm and raise their own cattle for beef that's served in the restaurant. They also grow vegetables for the restaurant. They use the spent grains from the brewing process to feed their cattle, and the majority of the restaurant waste is composted. They also contribute some proceeds to the local fire department and lead a community clean-up initiative. Here's a recent Pittsburgh City Paper article about their environmental initiatives.
We thought we would be eating OPD style (that is, Old People Dinner style) when we got there at 5, but it was packed and lively. According to our waiter, it's usually busy. No wonder--great food, good veggie options, good beer, and an environmentally friendly focus. Two thumbs up!